Ethnic dining going by the "T" for $100 a couple with wine and tip.
Colette and I, when outside France, tend to avoid French food but still expect a good meal with wine and tip to come in under $100 for the two of us (I know - we're spoiled).
We both went to school around town so we're pretty adept at using the "T" - we'll be at Copley Place.
So the question is: what good non-European ethnic food places fall within those economic and geographic parameters?
Thanks in advance.
I asked for help in finding ethnic places for $100 a couple with wine and all these places you kindly recommended qualified.
November 10, 2004, elsewhere, I had posted a note: “Due to some family, personal and professional obligations we did less ethnic food on the fly than we'd planned. We had our best meal (once again) at #9 Park and a surprising tapas tasting at Tapeo. Great Bay did well with the scallops but poorly with the fish, indeed good old Legal did better. And as for ethnic I loved the eel at Peach Farm but almost nothing at Khao Sarn…….”
This year, about the same time, we returned and here’s our score-keeping. We ate at Legal Seafood, for different reasons, on three occasions. The first, at the Prudential location, was quite good for the littleneck clams and mussels, so-so for the special fried flounder on foccacia, supposedly with aioli and poor on the flight of red Chilean wines (Bill= $61.74). Our second Legal meal was at the Copley location and while my littleneck clams and East Coast oysters were good (I am so used to Paris sizes, they must let them grow longer there, I was surprised), my boiled lobster had an almost burned (not in a good way) taste to it. Colette had an OK fish soup. Finally, leaving from Logan we ate at the one in Terminal C and once again I had great clams (this time cherrystones) but very mediocre Portuguese soup with a chorizo that was overcooked poor product, while Colette had the mussels again, whose sauce this time she was less impressed with than that at the Pru. (Bill=$64.04). For some reason, I think Legal has dropped off in quality for other-than-shellfish items, which remain of the top quality. Just so you don’t think I’ve lost my taste for fish, I will note that at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central a day later I had big (Paris-sized) oysters and an oyster pan roast that was as good as ever.
An interesting new place (for us, it didn’t exist during my college years) was the Antico Forno in the North End, which with the bringing down of the elevated highways, is no longer a city apart. I started off with a great assortment of fresh greens with Balsamic and EVOO, followed by a papillote of clams and linguine, really quite nice. Colette’s home-made fettucine and Bolognese didn’t meet the Luigi Buitoni (http://www.locandadellaroccabuitoni.it/) standard, despite the Signora’s statement that American Bolognese was the same as Italian (I demurred: same carrots, veal and pancetta? I think not). (Bill= $65.80.)
Equally new to us was Gari, self-described as a Japanese-fusion maki-sushi place, near Coolidge Corner (once the burbs now the center). We ordered a wonderful wok-fried, interestingly-battered calamari dish with ample greens and (untastable lemongrass) and fine makis: spicy scallops and flying fish, yellowtail and scallions, and eel and avocado. In sum: one of the most innovative experiences we’ve ever had in Boston. (Bill=$58.85.)
Tapeo was a complete disappointment this year – what has happened? – we liked not the tiger shrimp, chicken with (ephemeral ginger) and garlic and sausage (so so) with one good fig; dessert of rice pudding was good, however. Bill= $75.97.
For one dinner, we took the T (15 minutes only) to Malden, from where one of my college roommates hailed, to FuLoon, much loved on Chow Hound. Once again we were done-in by our upper-Manhattan memories of wonderful Szechuan food: the pork pancake was OK, the wok baked scallops and shrimp were OK and the Kung Pao chicken was (well, I’m sorry to say), only OK (Bill=$58.30).
Sonsie might be terrific for dinner but at lunch it’s largely soups and salads and sandwiches rather than “real food,” by my book. I had what was called a Cubano, and I guess I am scarred for life by the great Cuban sandwiches at W. 160th St circa 1959; what I was served was essentially an all-right croque-monsieur with pickles or a ham/cheese panino, but not as advertised – spicy pork was nowhere to be found (Bill=$34).
All prices above are net, with tax but sans tip.
Many thanks to all for your help.
This is a great place to look as well. Someone had asked about restaurants along the Red Line. You can byob to Dok Bua, but I think Khao Sarn is also v. good. On the Green B Line, I can recommend Shanghai Gate, at the Harvard St. / Comm Ave intersection. I haven't been for a while, but farther along the same line, you'll come to Washington St. / Comm Ave. intersection, where there is a Thai restaurant, Amboo Thai, and a tapas restaurant, next to each other, as well as Zocalo, a Mexican restaurant.
204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134
Zocalo Cocina Mexicana
1414 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA 02135
Amboo Thai Restaurant
1616 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA 02135
Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurant & Bar
1610 Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA 02135
In Coolidge Corner there are a couple of good options - Khao Sarn for Thai, it's not THE absolute best in the area but it's quite good and fits your requirements (and the few better Thai places around tend to be hole-in the wall type joints that don't serve wine). Also Gari, a block further down Harvard St. It bills itself as Japanese-American fusion but I usually stick to the Japanese side of the menu. I'm especially fond of the chef's choice sushi/sashimi platter, a great deal at $28. And it's got a very striking interior (check out the bathroom - seriously.)
On the way to there is my favorite local Spanish restaurant, Taberna de Haro. It's right where the C line first comes above ground. I know you said you want non-European but this place is worth a try if you have the time - good selection of different sized plates and an excellent wine list with some selections that you rarely see around here..
250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446